Losing a loved one in a catastrophic collision is heartbreaking. While grieving, surviving spouses, parents, children and other relatives may wonder what exactly happened in the moments before impact. They might also be searching for justice and a way to support the loved one’s family in the wake of tragedy.

After a fatal crash, many families choose to pursue a wrongful death claim in honor of their loved one. An effective case could provide the money that the family deserves for their loss – and the money that the family needs to survive.

However, it is important to determine who can file this claim and who the compensation could help. The eligible claimant depends on the decedent’s family situation at the time of their passing, including whether they were married or named a personal representative.

If the decedent was married, their spouse can file a claim on their behalf. If they were not married, their parents or children are also eligible. Family members do not have to live in Pennsylvania to file a lawsuit if the crash occurred within the state. Regardless of who files the wrongful death claim, any compensation is split between eligible beneficiaries. Intestacy laws determine the portion each beneficiary would receive. Your lawyer can help you understand how this works.

If there is no spouse, child or parent to file a claim, a personal representative can pursue damages for medical and funeral costs on behalf of the decedent’s estate. Other relatives like grandparents or siblings are not eligible beneficiaries of a lawsuit after the death of their loved one.

An eligible party can begin a lawsuit within two years following the fatal crash. If you are grappling with a difficult loss due to a fatal motor vehicle accident, learn about your options with a qualified attorney.